'Queer Eye' Star Thom Filicia Reveals the Story Behind 'Secret Celebrity Drag Race' Character Jackie Would (2023)

A generation of LGBTQ+ viewers grew up with Thom Filicia. the suave interior designer of the original 'Queer Eye'.

La estrella original de 'Queer Eye', Thom Filicia, era Jackie Would en 'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race'.

Photo: photo collage/VH1/courtesy

A generation of LGBTQ+ viewers grew up withthom felicia. the suave interior designer of the original "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The Fab Five, as they were known, were reformed straight men in desperate need of a little polish. (Yes, the Netflix version is a reboot.)

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Filicia served as a fabulous solo as Jackie Would, her long-haired alter ego on "RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race." The interior designer, TV host, and author was one of the brightest personalities on the show, the cool aunt who takes you to gay bars. Filicia was the third celebrity eliminated from the voice-over competition, after the Houston native.Loretta Devineand singerTaylor Dayne.

Filicia opened up about her time under the wig and trying to keep "Queer Eye" co-star Carson Kressley from finding out who she was.

What made you say, "Thom would do" that?

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A couple things. First of all, they wanted to do this as a surprise for Carson, which I thought was really amazing. I knew this would be hilarious and that it would be a lifetime story for both of them. But we were also able to do it for a charity and something that is important to us. Nine years ago I had a bone marrow transplant with my brother, and he is alive and well. I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight the Bone Marrow (and Cancer) Foundation and give them visibility and maybe some resources to continue reaching out to people. I managed to save my brother's life, but you can save the life of someone you've never seen before and you're just as powerful.

Was there any hesitation when you were asked to transform into a drag goddess?

When I did "Queer Eye" a million years ago, it was one of those moments where I thought, "Nobody's going to ask you to do that again. This could be so much more than just design and hair and clothes and everything." that. In fact, it might have more of an impact." They haven't told me since. When they came to me and asked me to do this, I thought, "This isn't my space." On a show, I'm fine. But I'm not a dancer or an artist. I'm gay as hell, but I'm not that girl. But I'm not 20 anymore. Some of these things they ask you to do, you have to think, when you say no, that's it. Never again will she's going to ask me to do these things. I knew I wouldn't make a good drag queen. But if you're going to do it, you have to. I loved it. It was so much fun.

Who is Jackie Will? What is her story?

You really had to create your person. I had a week to think about it. I was making up names. I came with Anita Prosecco. But it was so literal. And then I thought, "Jackie would." She is the one who will do anything. But we had to find out who that person was. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and loved to steal her parents' car and sneak into the big city where she was drunk badly. But she now she lives in Aspen. Jackie, with her friends a few years ago, went skiing because they were looking for boyfriends. She was over-served on the plane and made such a show that when she landed in Aspen, she was told that she would not be allowed to fly on any airline again. She then settled in Aspen. Because she was too drunk to drive home. She also gave me the ability to say, "She's a great dancer. At your house. When you're drunk." She's just not very good on stage. I don't need her to be anything more than that. I wanted her to be the one to bring everyone together, make everyone comfortable, she go out of her way to help that person at the party that she doesn't know at all. Jackie was definitely the person behind the scenes that when she saw someone having a moment, she was like, "Girl, you're amazing."

How was the first moment you stepped on stage as Jackie Would?

The first time I went on stage, in the first episode, I think I came out as Thom Filicia dressed as Jackie Would. I was thinking, I was in my head, I was worried about talking because I didn't want Carson to know who I was. He was worried about what Ru was thinking. would he fall for me? I was worried about the lip sync. In the second episode, I went on stage as Jackie Would and said, "She's so badass. But she's not that good. She's glad to be here." For me it is very important to be doing what I do well. I felt like I was representing RuPaul. He was performing "Queer Eye." He was representing Carson. He represented everyone from the hair and makeup to the wardrobe and the choreographer. Everyone who played Jackie would come to life. But I was also allowing myself to think, "I didn't break my ankle, that's good. I didn't spill my cocktail."

La estrella original de 'Queer Eye', Thom Filicia, era Jackie Would en 'RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race'.

Photo: photo collage/VH1/courtesy

How worried were you that Carson would hit the nail on the head right away?

He was calling me the week before, "Hey, let's go to dinner. I'm in LA." She didn't want him to know she was here. It was all this kind of crazy stuff. So I was worried that he would somehow see me in Los Angeles, so I went to my friends' houses. I had my phone turned off, I wasn't in any apps. Literally ten seconds before I went on stage, one of the producers turned to me and said, "Try not to talk too much. And use an accent if you can so Carson doesn't know it's you." I'm trying not to break my ankle, I remember a song, dance moves, and now I have to have an accent? I went on stage in a panic. The funny thing is, I thought he knew it was me before he did. The reason why he didn't do it, he said, "Out of the thousands of people I know in this world, you are 100% the last person I think would do that."

Does Jackie have a future in drag?

I'm like that suburban housewife taking a painting class. I don't intend to sell my art in a SoHo gallery. I'm going to give this to my kids, and they'll probably put it in their basement. I will try to do my best. But you have a tour bus. Let's read the room. Jackie's days are numbered. And by the way, we all agree with that. You find where you fit. My mom told me when I was a kid, "Find out what you're good at and stick with it." And when you know what you're not good at, she helps you get closer to what you're good at. Be cool to be okay. I really enjoyed the process. But I also know that there are people who are very, very talented and that is their passion. The art of it: the hairstyle, the makeup, the costumes and the choreography. There is a lot involved in this. It was really enlightening to learn all of that and have that perspective. I have such a different respect and appreciation for this art form.

  • Joey Guerra


    Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various aspects of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of shows and has interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and was the head judge and director of the singing competition Pride Superstar for a decade. He has been named Journalist of the Year multiple times by OutSmart magazine and the FACE awards. He also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and "RuPaul's Drag Race."

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